Protesting for digital freedom this Fourth of July
What is the cost of freedom? Arguments related to the Fourth Amendment of the United States of America's Constitution have become more vivid and widespread in recent years, and have come to a head in light of the recent National Security Agency scandal. While supporters of surveillance have leveraged national security as the foremost function of the government, making such pursuits necessary evils, many opposed to these covert operations refuse to back down.
In honor of the Fourth of July, some of the biggest open-source websites are launching a large-scale protest of the NSA's surveillance activities. Tech Crunch reported today that WordPress.org, Namecheap, Reddit, Fark, Cheezburger, Mozilla and a variety of other companies will be implementing virtual banners on their webpages that outline the statutes under the Fourth Amendment.
This controversy brings to light the increasingly blurred line between freedom and safety, and what the government's place in controlling information exchange should be. The Tech Crunch article noted that movements similar to the Fourth of July protest were launched against the Stop Online Piracy Act, which virtually anyone would agree does not simply fight stolen intellectual property.
Instead, the U.S. government, as well as public sector organizations and conglomerates from around the world, continue to launch widespread initiatives to gain more control over the Internet. These pursuits have been highly successful because the general public does not have much say over the outcome of conversations occurring behind closed doors in Washington.
Additionally, one would argue that some of the biggest benefactors or specific surveillance legislation have simply too much pull with lawmakers. Though most Americans would likely want a balance between security and freedom, it is becoming increasingly difficult to walk this line.
Regardless, though, peaceful protests that raise public awareness of major governmental actions will only strengthen the chances that the future will not be marked by consistent controversies.